That letter had been submitted to the Pope privately, but released to the public two months later, prompting a firestorm of media commentary and debate.
However, the cardinal also addressed the purported “conflict” between him and Pope Francis, stressing that the media portrayal of he and the Pope is inaccurate, and frequently “overdone.”
“It’s all a caricature. They depict Pope Francis as a wonderful, open person and there’s nothing wrong with that, but they depict me as just the opposite,” he said, explaining that this is done “to advance their own agenda.”
However, Pope Francis “is actually not in favor of their agenda. They use this kind of technique to make it seem like he is and that’s fundamentally dishonest,” Cardinal Burke said.
Neither is there an intention to build up resistance against the Pope, he continued, explaining that the image of him being the “enemy” who is trying to undermine the Pope “isn't the case at all.”
Cardinal Burke made his comments in a recent interview with Australian journalist Jordan Grantham, published Sept. 21 in Diocese of Parramatta’s online publicaton, “Catholic Outlook.”
The cardinal noted that as faithful Catholics, those who have expressed doubt or concern over the confusion surrounding “Amoris Laetitia” love the Pope “with complete obedience to the office of Peter.”
Yet at the same time, he said, “they don’t accept these questionable interpretations...of ‘Amoris Laetitia,’ interpretations, which in fact contradict what the Church has always taught and practiced.”
Without clarity on these issues, “people are in a very difficult state,” he said, explaining that this is demonstrated by the fact that bishops conferences have issued conflicting guidelines on how to interpret “Amoris Laetitia.”
In addition to Cardinal Burke, other signatories to the dubia letter were Cardinals Walter Brandmüller, president emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences; Carlo Caffarra, Archbishop Emeritus of Bologna; and Joachim Meisner, Archbishop Emeritus of Cologne.
Cardinals Meisner and Caffarra passed away within two months of each other over the summer, leaving Cardinals Burke and Brandmüller to carry forward the ongoing debate over the dubia.
Cardinal Burke’s latest interview was not related to the release of a letter signed by 62 Catholic clergy and scholars, the most notable being superior general Bishop Bernard Fellay of the breakaway Society of St. Pius X. That letter presented itself as a “filial correction” to Pope Francis for reputed errors and heresies.
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Among other things, the letter argues that the Pope has either directly or indirectly perpetrated seven heresies, most of which surround comments he has made about Martin Luther and ambiguities in “Amoris Laetitia,” specifically related to the question of the reception of Holy Communnion by divorced-and-remarried Catholics who cannot get an annulment.
The letter also objects to the Pope’s silence in the face of the “dubia” submitted to the Pope by the four cardinals.
Like the four cardinals’ original dubia letter, the 25-page letter of “filial correction” was also sent to the Pope privately, but the signatories decided to publish it after having received no response from the Pope.
Neither Cardinal Burke nor Cardinal Brandmüller signed the document. According to a Tweet sent out by the traditionalist blog “Rorate Caeli,” which has provided favorable coverage of the document’s release, cardinals were not asked to sign. The letter was “step one only.”
In his interview, Cardinal Burke said that many lay people argue over “Amoris Laetita,” and “many priests are suffering in particular because the faithful come to them, expecting certain things that are not possible because they’ve received one of the these erroneous interpretations of ‘Amoris Laetitia’.”
As a result, these people no longer understand Church teaching, the cardinal said. And in the Church, “we have only one guide, the Magisterium, the teaching of the Church, but we now seem to be divided into so-called political camps.”